“Nathalie Stutzmann’s impressive conducting debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra”

Nathalie Stutzmann, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Choir at curtain call.

Nathalie Stutzmann, the LPO and the LPC at curtain call.

Nathalie Stutzmann made her conducting debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall on March 25 to great critical and public acclaim (visit Nathalie’s Twitter account to read the many enthusiastic responses shared by audience members), giving an “impressive” and “inhabited” performance (Seen and Heard International), with “great insight” (The Guardian) leaving “no doubt as to the buzz that was engendered” (Classical Source).
Nathalie had dedicated the concert to the victims and people affected by the terror attack at Westminster on March 22, addressing the audience a speech at the beginning of the evening. “May their souls find solace and appeasement in this offering” she said.

Check out some of the reviews:

Seen and Heard International | Colin Clarke

Nathalie Stutzmann’s Impressive Conducting Debut with the LPO
It was fascinating to see Natalie Stutzmann (…) in the role of conductor. (…) Stutzmann’s conducting technique is exceptionally clear, and everything she touches emerges as incredibly musical. (…) Taken together, the Strauss and the Mozart Requiem make for a relatively short concert, but one that packed huge emotional punch (…). The joy provided when the music was ongoing [gave] the whole a fitting and poignant tribute to those who lost their lives and were injured last week. One looks forward to Stutzmann’s return to a London podium with some impatience.”

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
No better beginning (…) than Richard Strauss’s typically graphic description of death and the journey to the afterlife in his Tod und Verklärung (“Death and Transfiguration”). Stutzmann had clearly worked hard on dynamic range with the orchestra, from the near audibility of the opening to the crushing climaxes, raw in sound and emotion. The LPO’s soloists were uniformly excellent; leader Pieter Schoemann’s solo contributions were given with a tone that had just the right amount of edge. All of the tempo changes were managed perfectly, with no sense of hangover from the previous tempo. Details like hard-edged timpani underscoring fateful brass, but using soft sticks for the hero’s heartbeat, all contributed to the impression that this was a most considered interpretation. The post-mortem section, full of radiance and hope, was beautifully done, the end a perfect combination of discipline and glow. Placing the double-basses, not behind the cellos as normal, but rather allying them with the low brass, added to the sound’s richness.

Mozart – Requiem:
Stutzmann plumped for the familiar Süssmayr completion, but there was no hint of the routine from the forces at hand, in particular the London Philharmonic Choir. Perhaps some of that came from Stutzmann’s tempi, which tended towards the rapid side. The trombone lines in the opening ‘Requiem’ certainly brought the idea of church music to the concert hall; but those trombones’ virtuosity was really called upon in the ‘Kyrie’ fugue, a challenge the three LPO players rose to magnificently (specifically, Mark Templeton, David Whitehouse and Matthew Lewis). Again, the ‘Dies irae’ was taken at an exciting speed; and in sympathy, the ‘Tuba mirum’ was a nice two-in-a-bar. (…) Four distinct personalities, therefore, and yet, when the quartet [Kateryna Kasper, Sara Mingardo, Robin Tritschler, Leon Košavič] came together as a unit, the sound was perfectly balanced, as if individuals melded into a quartet whole. One suspects Stutzmann’s influence here.

Time and time again, Stutzmann’s attention to orchestral detail came through, the orchestra reacting to her direction with incredible flexibility, shading each panel appropriately. Light shone through the ‘Domine Jesu’ as if through a stained glass window; the pure blaze of the ‘Sanctus’ took away the stained glass and allowed us to sit in pure spiritual radiance, while the ‘Benedictus’ had an easy grace.


Classical Source | Nick Breckenfield

(…) there was no doubt as to the buzz that was engendered. I hope that Nathalie Stutzmann was signed up immediately for return visits to the London Philharmonic.

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
This was Stutzmann’s conducting debut with the LPO and it was clear by the way she kept the layers of the Strauss light and distinct that she knows exactly what she wants. This was music-making that inhabited the score from within, eschewing heavy brushstrokes. In what was as fascinating as cohesive a reading, Stutzmann carefully graded the climaxes to bring the work, full-circle, to its quiet close.

Mozart – Requiem:
There was an indelible impression of Stutzmann generating a single collective will, with the Choir relishing a singer being in charge and an aptly matched quartet of soloists. This Requiem – as much for the living as for the dead – flowed powerfully, from the mournful bassoon and basset horn keening at the outset, through the thrillingly articulated semiquavers of the ‘Kyrie’ and the outstanding trombone and baritone duet of Tuba mirum (David Whitehouse and Leon Košavić respectively) and so on. The Choir sang magnificently, with a thrilling ping to the tenors’ entries, while their collective standing and seating was impeccably negotiated. In short this was an account for which every facet had been thought through.


The Guardian | Tim Ashley

Nathalie Stutzmann, conducting with great insight, dedicated the evening to victims of the Westminster attack. It is hard to imagine a finer tribute.

Strauss – Death and Transfiguration:
(…) a performance of great clarity and insight. Speeds were extreme and rhythms precise, which made the opening heartbeat syncopations almost clinically unnerving. The central crisis erupted with frightening power. The closing transfiguration, which can easily turn bombastic, was, for once, admirable in its restraint.

Mozart – Requiem:
Once again, terror and compassion combined with precision, whether in the finely honed instrumental solos or the criss-crossing choral counterpoint. The London Philharmonic Choir sang with great dignity and immaculate dynamic control.

Posted in Concert Reviews